HOCKEY. An armada should never be considered defeated. Voltigeurs players learned that the hard way Thursday night at the Sports Rousseau Center of Excellence.
Ending a streak of four games on the opponent’s rinks, the Drummondvillois battalion conceded defeat 4-3 in front of the Blainville-Boisbriand fleet. Leading 2-1 after 40 minutes of play, the Reds saw their opponents show opportunism by scoring three goals in the third period to enjoy their fourth straight win.
“We did a lot of good things tonight, but on the other hand, we have to come together in the defensive zone,” Voltigeurs head coach Sylvain Favreau said. We were still doing well overall, but we gave up two touchdowns in the third period that started with turnovers in the neutral zone. We talked about it before the game. We paid cash for our mistakes.”
It was young Xavier Villeneuve who broke the 3-3 tie with just 1:14 on the clock, when a delayed penalty against Mikael Diotte was awarded. The 16-year-old defender took advantage of the confusion on the Drummondville field to score the decisive goal.
“It’s one of the best teams in the league,” said Xavier Villeneuve during the traditional interview with the first star. Of course we wanted to win this game. At the end, when I saw the referee with his hand in the air, I told myself I had to put him in! Bourque gave me a nice pass and I took the opportunity.”
Dominating 37-22 in shots after two periods of play, the Voltigeurs saw the Armada take a 16-9 advantage in this column in the third period. The author of 34 saves, some of which were spectacular, Riley Mercer still suffered his third consecutive loss.
Often at his best against the Voltigeurs, Charles-Édward Gravel turned away 43 of 46 shots directed at him, especially frustrating Justin Côté on the penalty kill in the second period. The 19-year-old goalkeeper recorded his 11th win in 15 career decisions against the Reds.
After seeing Alexis Bourque open the scoring early on, Mikael Diotte responded for the Voltigeurs when his wrist shot was deflected off an opposing player. Midway through the second period, Luke Woodworth put his team in the lead by redirecting Nino Tomov’s pass.
Taking advantage of a high penalty on Ethan Gauthier, Jonathan Fauchon tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period. Midway through the period, a turnover in the neutral zone allowed Justin Carbonneau to give Armada the lead. Less than two minutes later, Tyler Peddle put the two teams back on top when his shot from a very tight angle caught Charles-Édward Gravel by surprise.
One of the most inexperienced teams in the QMJHL, the Armada (12-10-2-0) have won two of their three games against the Voltigeurs (13-8-3-1) so far this season. Quebec Remparts surprised 3-1 48 hours earlier, the Reds would record just one win in this four-game series abroad.
Drummondvillois will be back in front of their fans on Sunday, from 16:00. For this occasion, the Shawinigan Cataractes (8-13-1-0) will be the visitors to the Marcel-Dionne Center.
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